Forget New York’s proposal to raise the tax on cigarettes by $1 — California lawmakers have a much cloudier political situation on their hands. Election officials confirmed yesterday that voters will get the chance to say yea or nay to legalizing and taxing marijuana in their state.
The initiative, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, is the result of a grassroots (yes, I said it) effort that gathered more than 500,000 signatures statewide.
Among the highlights (yep, did it again) are:
-Anyone age 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
-They would also be permitted to grow up to 25 sq. ft. (5′x5′) of pot per adult per household.
-Cities and counties would have the choice whether or not to enact laws legalizing the cultivation, transport, sale and taxation of marijuana.
Proponents say that this last point would be a boon to struggling local governments that have had to shed jobs and cut budgets in recent months.
They also believe that legalization would allow police to focus efforts on more serious crimes.
Meanwhile, those opposed to the initiative claim it would only lead to increased marijuana use and ultimately put more demands on law enforcement. “Neighborhoods feel very uncomfortable with these locations that have a lot of dope and a lot of cash,” a lobbyist representing the California Police Chiefs Association said.